I am a huge fan of David Foster Wallace.  In a commencement speech he tells the story of three fish:

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about…A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here’s one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of.”

Wallace’s insight is truly brilliant and something sales and marketing professionals in the world of online B2B marketing can never forget.  Stated another way:

Your Customer IS the Center of Your Universe

In the new rules of sales and marketing engagement we need to always remember this universal truth and fight our hard wired biological drive to be the narcissistic self-centered creatures we were designed to be.   

Here is a quick and easy test to see if your team is getting it right

Read your sales content and see how many times you use the words “We”, “Us”, “Our”, or your brand or product names and then compare it to how many times you use the words “You”, “Your” and your targets Title or Job Function.  Below are two real world examples of a first emails that have gone out from our team. 

How this slip occurred in our process is the topic of a second blog (and cautionary tale) entitled  Best Practices Integrating Your Outbound Sales Team into Your Marketing Automation Program to be published in a couple of days. 

Email 1

  • Narcissistic and Self Centered Being The Creatures we Hard Wired to Be:  -11
  • Customer is the Center of the Universe Score +2
  • Success Score – 9

Date: Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Subject: Your Inquiry to Gabriel Sales


Thank you for your inquiry regarding outsourced sales.  Gabriel Sales has been helping companies bring their products to market via lead generation, lead nurturing, closing deals as well as managing the entire sales team for over 10 years.  We have worked with many offshore companies, U.S. start-ups as well as the Fortune 100.  We have deep domain experience selling Marketing Services and Technology.  Our most recent success has been bringing an Indian data analytics firm from $500K-$12M in revenue in 3 years. They then sold for $65M.

We are very process oriented.  We will develop the best way to sell your product, (messaging, packaging and pricing if necessary), begin selling, track all the ratios related to the sale, and create a repeatable forecast-able sales system and Marketing plan for you to then to run yourself or continue to outsource with us.   We will cold call, buy lists, or manage a marketing campaign to get leads; or work leads provided by you.

In regards to selling similar products, we have sold many marketing solutions to VPs of Marketing in the SMB and Fortune 1000 markets.

Our model is based on a retainer and consulting fees.  We believe in automating the sales process as much as possible to reduce the human resource requirements.  We do this through creating landing pages and content that can “sell” as much as possible as well as utilizing Marketing Automation software.

We look forward to your response.

Email 2

  • Narcissistic and and Self Centered Being The Creatures we Hard Wired to Be: 0
  • Customer is the Center of the Universe Score +9
  • Success Score +9

Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:03 AM
Subject: A Couple Other Recent Best Practices from Gabriel Sales


Hope you find some tips your team can leverage from the “Sell Smarter, Sell Faster” White Paper.  

Here is a quick blog post on some Best Practices you can leverage to keep your Email Marketing aligned with your buyers’ goals and your sales team’s efforts Keep it Conversational – Best Practices for B2B E-Mail Marketing that the team put together after receiving  some questions from sales and marketing professionals that liked the White Paper. 

 Also in case you missed it here is 4 minute video How to Accelerate Your B2B Demand Generation Engine that describes how your team can start to align your sales and content marketing to lift your results for both.

Look forward to connecting to see how else we can help.  If you have any questions about any of the educational resources we are sending across don’t hesitate to reach out.


With this one simple approach to your outbound communication, from both your sales reps and your marketers,  you will see a sales lift across the board.  

As a little additional backstory we got this wrong at Gabriel Sales this week because we did not correctly train one of our sales reps when they were promoted.  That’s another story for a blog that will soon follow.  The incident was also a strong reminder that sales and marketing alignment  is not always seamless. Hopefully this post makes it a little more seamless for your team.    

For additional Best Practices regarding online B2B marketing, feel free to check out our White Paper – Selling Smarter and Selling Faster.

Also wanted to give a plug to David Foster Wallace and would highly recommend that if you are into literature and great story telling that you read Infinite Jest.   Written in the 90s its an incredibly predictive  future version of North America, and touches on competitiveness, aspiring to excellence,  addictive and compulsive behavior, advertising, media, film theory and popular entertainment.  Here is a link to his Wikipedia site.  Have fun.